Thursday, November 18, 2010


Magnifique! A Voci Dance Nighttime Glowing Fairy Fundraiser will be held at the Mennello Museum of American Art (900 East Princeton Street Orlando, FL) on Saturday, November 20th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Admission is just $15.

As dusk falls, the audience will gather beneath Orlando’s oldest oak tree for an evening walking tour of the grounds of the Mennello Musuem of Art. Refreshments, wine and a raffle will accompany the performance. All funds go to Voci Dance to support their many performances, workshops and community outreach programs they present throughout the year.

Since I was going to be on assignment in Miami that weekend, I called Genevieve Bernard, the choreographer and founder of Voci Dance and I asked to sketch a rehearsal. She filled me in on the entire rehearsal schedule. When I arrived at the Mennello Museum, I found Genevieve in the parking lot talking to two dancers. Rakia Mikhailenko had just flown in from Seattle for this performance and she was on her cell talking to her children. Leah Marke is the center pin of the performance and she was at every rehearsal whereas other dancers might have conflicts with work schedules. Genevieve explained that there would be seven fairies, including a pregnant fairy, on performance night, but for this rehearsal there were but two. Actress, Sarah Lockhard, showed up, and her roll was as an honorary fairy, helping illuminate the lead dancers.

The hatchback of Genevieve's car was open and inside were lights, costumes and fairy wings. Leah's sister Tamara had designed the wings which are made of a light translucent fabric. Leah secured her wings by tying a knot just below her chest and then tying two more shoulder straps in place. Genevieve had made a Walmart run the night before, to get small LED lights which will be used on performance night. With everyone's wings in place, the dancers walked out to a huge Live Oak tree whose branches gracefully bowed out, touching the ground, then branching back up. The late afternoon sun illuminated this magical secluded cove with patches of warm light.

Leah lead the performance. Her movements were graceful and light. She danced using the tree's huge branches as a natural staging area. Rakia picked up her moves by following Leah's lead. Sarah followed the dancers, crouching low and using an LED flashlight to illuminate the movements. The fairy's approached the main tree trunk, perhaps 20 feet in circumference and they worshipfully raised their arms and arched their backs, their arched fingertips reaching toward the stars. They were a delight to watch. On performance night their wings will glow, adding a haunting element to the already surreal choreography. Genevieve explained to me that she was inspired in part when imagining Magnifique, by the amazing, unexpected work of Henry Darger. Doug Rhodehamel will fill the mysterious cove with glowing mushrooms and DJ Nigel will supply the music. Tell your Facebook friends, this is one evening you do not want to miss!

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and indeed it was an unforgettable performance!